Hailing from Miami, Jasmine Ortiz is responsible for a recently released banger, ‘Cherry On Top’. Produced by TrackDilla, the song is a real earworm, un upbeat jewel causing the listener to feel good and press replay instantly. At only 20 years-old, Ortiz is gearing up for a stellar career, already amassing thousands of streams on Spotify and Youtube. Intrigued by the songwriting maturity showcased in ‘Cherry On Top’, we decided to ask Jasmine a few questions, to find out more about her artistry. Here’s what we found out:
YMX: Hey Jasmine, thanks for talking to us. How have these gloomy times been treating you?
JO: I’ll be honest – the first 3-4 months of quarantine had me questioning everything, and it really made me take a step back to reevaluate. At that point, I turned to production to really focus my energy and find my artistic “sound” myself. It became much clearer to me when I was able to attain it myself rather than relying on someone else to discern what I was trying to say when I couldn’t even find the words to describe it properly. After a period of trial and error and just getting more proficient in Logic; I realized that I had all the tools at my finger tips the whole time. Around June or July is when I really started to feel myself coming back, and reigniting my faith in the journey that I’m on. I’ve been extremely blessed to be surrounded by my family and our continued health. I am grateful to have been able to find a silver lining and still be able to work remotely throughout the pandemic.
YMX: How did you decide music was something you wanted to pursue? Are there any particular episodes that inspired you in doing so?
JO: Since I was really young I’ve always felt a pull towards music. At 2 I started singing around the house, humming little melodies I had created. At 3, I begged my parents for piano lessons after a night in Atlantic City where I ran off from them during dinner to hop on stage and play the grand piano. Everyone in the restaurant noticed before my parents had, and they ran up to get me after I had already started playing. At that point, I think my parents realized that maybe this was something I was actually serious about wanting to explore. I started piano lessons a few months later, and was with the same teacher for 15 years until I graduated high school.
YMX: Here’s a fun game: name 3 artists, or bands, that inspire you and influence your work, and explain why:
JO: I would say I have a huge range of artists and styles that influence me as an artist – starting with the Red Hot Chili Peppers who introduced me to the SoCal rock sound that I’ve really grown to love. As a guitarist, the Chili Peppers inspired me with the incredible melodic lines they use in their guitar solos. I am also really inspired by Lady Gaga, because I feel that we have a similar background in music and songwriting. We are both pianists who started out super young, just performing in clubs and bars and venues before we were even old enough to be in them. I think her story and the journey she’s been on from the beginning is incredibly inspiring. Another artist that inspires me is Amine. He really popped off after gaining a local cult following in his hometown of Portland, and has given back to the community ever since. That’s something super important to me – giving back to the people and places that helped you start out. I also love his artistic choices, bold colour palettes, and directorial style of his music videos. I think he’s a super well-rounded artist and I hope to emulate a lot of the same qualities he portrays through his artistry.
YMX: You recently released a powerful pop banger, ‘Cherry On Top’. Can you tell us how that project came about?
JO: My latest release Cherry On Top is a collaboration with the amazing producer TrackDilla! I had such a great time working on this song with him, starting over the summer. At first, Track sent me a bunch of different production bases for me to choose from. Then, once I fell in love with the track for “Cherry On Top” I came up with the verse and chorus melodies almost immediately. Then, I was actually inspired by my hair colour at the time when thinking about the lyrics. I had recently dyed my own hair pink on one side, leaving it blonde on the other. With my brown roots growing in, I thought that I looked like Neapolitan ice cream. I loved the look and the overall concept; so I photoshopped a cartoon cherry on my head; then the idea for “Cherry On Top” was born. It’s really just meant to be a fun, nostalgic song about the idealistic beginning of any relationship – before the complicated stuff.
YMX: How did the pandemic affect your personal music recording experience? Was it easy adjusting to working remotely?
JO: I think there was this huge expectation of creatives in all art forms to be super creative and productive right at the beginning of quarantine – but honestly most of us were just depressed. Sometimes music can be a useful coping mechanism; but oftentimes the pressure of deadlines or making things sound perfect can strip it of that quality when you’re already struggling. I think getting used to the new state of the world, the separation, the isolation, the abruptness with which our lives were put on hold; that was hard to grapple with for everyone. As an artist, I eventually became able to channel this into my work positively but it took some major soul searching and mindfulness to get there. I’m a very social, extroverted person so I think it was much harder for me, to have anything to “output” musically, when I was stripped of all my sensory inputs like socializing and seeing the people I care about. However, once I got more into the swing of things like zoom collaborations and long-distance recording sessions; it gave me an opportunity to up my production and engineering game to match the people on the other end. It became an exciting time of growth and self-teaching that I honestly think I was able to benefit from in the end.
YMX: Professional livestreams seem to be really taking over these days. Is it something you would consider doing?
JO: I would absolutely do a livestream! I love going live on instagram and tiktok and getting to interact with fans in the moment; so getting to perform a full set for them online, via a ticketed or free event would be super exciting for me. I think its a really poignant way that the music industry has been able to keep up with the times and adjust their business model to accommodate for the pandemic and this past year of online-events that we have been immersed in.
YMX: Since pandemic began, online music promotion has become crucial for an artist’s growth. How important is that for you, and are there any strategies you are willing to share with our readers?
JO: I think online music promotion has been integral to artist growth for the past 5 years or so; but with the rapid rise of TikTok in the past year as one of the most used platforms worldwide; the type of content that is needed for promotion has dramatically shifted. What I try to do to stay on top of all my social media platforms, is to think ahead. I like to draft content ideas and orchestrate content creation weeks or months before I need to put it out. That way, I’m not stressing at the last minute whenever I need to engage on a platform. I think that the most important thing with social media and online promotion is to just have a solid plan that you can reasonably execute. Don’t try to spread yourself too thin.
YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
JO: I have some exciting projects coming out down the line, as soon as next month! I can’t give any details yet, but this music marks a turning point for me in my career, in my sound, and in who I am as an artist. I am making honest, raw, and relatable music that has personally helped me process difficult feelings and emotions so I’m excited to allow it to help others do the same.